Gamblers can get ready to once again place their bets at casinos across the region, though a session of plugging slot machines will look far from normal.
At some venues, the buffets are out, smoking has been snuffed, and temperature checks will be required for entry.
Ilani in Ridgefield, Wash., is the latest casino to announce plans to reopen after being shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. The gaming facility—the closest to the Portland metro area—is scheduled to relaunch Thursday, May 28.
A reduced number of slot machines will be in operation in order ensure a healthy buffer between guests. Also expect fewer seats inside all restaurants and lounges, clear plastic barriers at key locations, including table games, and plenty of sanitizer. Employees will frequently clean all surfaces that customers touch, and guests can take advantage of newly installed hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipe stations.
Thermal scanning is also required for everyone entering the building. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed in.
Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City will open its doors a week before Ilani, with similar safety measures in place. In addition to temperature checks, furniture rearrangement and continual disinfecting, the property is limiting occupancy to 1,000 guests while a mobile queue will be employed to prevent congestion at the entrance.
And you can say goodbye, at least for now, to two Oregon casino traditions: the buffet and cigarettes indoors. Casinos are among the last smoke-filled enclaves in the state, but smoking is now prohibited resortwide.
One major difference between Ilani and Chinook Winds is their mask policies: Staff at both must wear the coverings, but only the coastal property is also requiring customers to do the same.
Spirit Mountain Casino, located about 60 miles southwest of Portland in Grand Ronde, has not yet announced plans for welcoming back the public. In the tribal council's most recent announcement on the venue's website, employees were given another 80 hours of paid leave, putting the total at 400 hours for each of its more than 1,100 workers that includes hourly wages, paid time off, health insurance and tips.